Doc M, there are so few medical doctors who genuinely have a whit of common sense about diet and exercise that if anything I want to encourage you as much as possible. As a disabled veteran (mostly migraines, nothing affecting mobility) I deal with a system that first, rarely sees me in the first place as I am female, and as a 67-yo athlete, I don’t even swim into focus for them. My PCP is an endurance athlete, a nurse, which is why I picked her. She gets my workout routines, that I am wholly committed to prevention and health and a very high level of fitness. I saw a bunch of your articles, and it gives me a lot of hope to see a doc with your background espousing so much that we all need to hear.

That said, all of us- and that particularly is true of the medical community- cannot possibly keep up with the plethora of research that can and often does toss time-honored processes on their heads. To that, my nurse told me to RICE my injuries, to which I sent her the new research that RICE is indeed contraindicated for many of them (I would posit, probably not for a compound fracture). It’s been my consistent experience as an adventure traveler that when (not if) I crank an ankle, especially since I am a bona fide hemophiliac, the most important thing I can do is move move move move.Otherwise I swell up like a balloon, which makes me stiff. Ice actually impedes the body’s wisdom- the inflammation in most cases is there for good reason. The icing has been found not only to delay healing but also to damage tissues. Yet every athlete I see with an injury has ice on it. Old habits are hard to break.

I applaud anyone in the medical field who is working hard to stay on top of what’s new, because what I so often see is entrenchment. It is hugely difficult for so many of us to admit that perhaps we’re wrong, and I find that more deeply buried in the medical world than anywhere else. I have had to fight hard to get information across, and fight even harder when a doctor (and this just happened) neither reads nor attends to critical notes about meds, and then orders the very meds that both my Medic Alert bracelet and my carefully worded notes indicate could cost me my life. The stupidity takes the breath away, and the man was deeply offended that I was angry. You see where I’m going with this.

As a woman, and in particular a woman of a Certain Age, my presence doesn’t register for many. Two women in that same doctor’s office were going to administer an ultrasound. When my jacket got caught on my left arm- an arm loaded with bracelets I’ve collected from climbing Kilimanjaro, rafting the Class V Nile in Uganda, riding horses in Kazakhstan, riding my MTB in Croatia, you get the picture- they leapt to help me get it off while referring to me as sweetie. I frankly would like to have sweetied both of them out the window, and could have, because I’ve been lifting for 45 years. I am incredibly strong. I despise infantilizing language, and am increasingly incensed when subjected to it, to which most doctors offices respond by referring to me as hysterical. I just wrote an article about the etiology of that word, and how our medical community still cannot deal with the feminine.

So you see where I come from. These issues touch us all. We live in a world where people still cannot comprehend that Black men actually graduated from Ivy League schools, that Black women can have multiple PhDs, because of confirmation bias. Such things perpetuate our stupidity, our limitations. I am a fan of how we challenge assumptions, live outside the lines, and add value. I’m a capable journalist and these things both trouble and concern me, in that we are swimming upstream while being carried rapidly backwards by ugly tides.

I wrote a triple prize-winning book on how we wield our words, Doc, and I do my best to walk the talk. There are days that’s hard for me after 21 concussions — you read that right-- for emotional volatility is a fact of life these days. But I am committed, if I possess the temerity to correct or suggest, that I do no harm, and add to the conversation. To your point, I have had plenty of trollers, and people who seem not to possess the brains of a nematode. But this is social media, the world we are in, and the waters we have to negotiate.

You have a safe and happy New Years to you and yours. Thanks for your kind response.

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Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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